Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Considering the Birds and the Lilies

This past Sunday I preached on Matthew 6:25-33 where Jesus teaches his followers not to worry. I felt the kind of peace that Jesus describes is better approached from the realm of poetry and perhaps Buddhism than a typical Western Christian didactic point of view. For any who are interested, here are the sources I referenced in my sermon:

Wendell Berry--Kentucky farmer, poet, and activist--I read two great poems by Berry: "The Peace of Wild Things" and "The Wild Geese" both are in Collected Poems: 1957-1982.--if you don't know Berry's writings you should.

Henri Nouwen--Catholic priest and spiritualist who taught at Harvard and Yale but then left academic life behind to live at Daybreak, a L'Arche Community in Canada, to be an assistant to a severely disabled man named Adam--I worked from an article called "The Peace that Passes Understanding" by Nouwen which originally appeared in Weavings and I have in The Weavings Reader. Much of the same materials is available on-line in a sermon and interview with Nouwen. As with Berry, if you don't know Nouwen, you need to. (For more information on L'Arche, the international movement for people with developmental disabilities led by people of faith, listen to the excellent program about it on the public radio program Speaking of Faith

hich Nhat Hanh--Vietnamese Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize Winner--I recommend Being Peace as an entry into his thoughts and writings. In my sermon, I related the monk's thoughts on mindfully washing dishes. I heard it as a story related by a visitor to the monk who had offered to wish their dinner dishes., but apparently he also mentions it in the abstract in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, so I do not know if the story was an actual event. (To hear the great Buddhist teacher giving a lecture and hear an interview with him, listen to this episode of the wonderful public radio program Speaking of Faith.

Grace and Peace,


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